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Azerbaijan Arrests Two Islamic Activists

Relatives of arrested Islamic Party activists protested in front of the president's offices in Baku in June. The crackdown on the party has since intensified.
Reports say police in Azerbaijan have arrested two prominent Islamic activists.

The arrests come a week after the leader of the Islamic Party and six other activists went on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow Azerbaijan's secular government.

The deputy chairman of the banned Azerbaijani Islamic Party, Arif Ganiev, and the editor of the Islamic news website, Ramin Bayramov, were detained on August 11.

The charges against the politician have not yet been made public, but the website editor's lawyer said that the police claimed to have found drugs, a pistol, and a hand grenade when they searched his home.

Energy-rich Azerbaijan is a mainly Shi'ite Muslim country, but after decades of Soviet rule it emerged as a mostly secular state.

compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports

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